In this guest post, retail industry strategist Michele Arpaia say good content and good data are the keys to creative marketing…
We have hit an inflection point where technology is now so pervasive and so useful that we’re past the tipping point. This is a fundamental shift that has redefined the rules of the game. The digital era is the face of this new game. One of the core characteristics of this game is that we are all simultaneously becoming creators and consumers of content.
And content is at the heart of this game.
Content is the currency that brings communications alive. When we tweet, blog, or update a video, we are publishing content on a platform that basically accepts nearly anything we submit. Brands are publishers, too, providing their own content and bypassing many of the old routes they used to use to get the word out. Wise retailers are using content marketing to increase conversion rates. And so on.
What is content anyway?
Think of content as the value contained in any form of (human) communication. Not all content is valuable (obviously) but in order to have meaningful communications, hence engagement and trust, content must touch the world we live in. There are many factors to determine whether something is meaningful or valuable, but the primary are context, timing, and relationship. In short,
Content is information that is made relevant by context, that is ready to be packaged and potentially relate-able to other content, and deliverable any time, anywhere.
Data and Content to glue together Creativity and Marketing
Creative individuals know that it is 1 per cent inspiration (idea) and 99 per cent perspiration (how to translate it into reality). They develop, refine, ditch and resurrect ideas to make the world better, no matter if on a large or a small scale. Valuable ideas hinge upon content. Every piece of content conveys a valuable idea that could potentially make the recipient’s world a better place. This is an inherently subjective endeavor. And that’s the beauty of it!
Marketing, on the other hand, ensures that content, including customers’, is re-purposed e.g. to educate, entertain, or persuade (convert), targeted, and monetized. In order to achieve this, they need two things: data, a lot of it, and secondly a process to get actionable insights out of it. This is where the magic happens. In fact, the convergence of creativity and marketing, underpinned by content and data, is fundamentally changing how firms conceive of their strategies and how software vendors like Adobe, IBM, HP, etc. are reshaping their road-map to meet this demand or even be ahead of the curve.
This convergence needs to develop along three axis:
- Digital Convergence. Essentially this is what we do when we view the same multimedia content from different types of devices, or read emails on our TV via a connected smartphone, or watch a streaming movie on the home theater connected to the Internet, or when we use the ‘digital mirror’ in the fitting room to change the color or the pattern of the outfit we are trying on. This is so pervasive that examples are before everybody’s eyes. For vendors and consultants alike, this represents a thorny challenge. Very few have been able to figure out how to efficiently and ‘friendly’ package good end-to-end solutions.
- Organizational Convergence. The more organizations tear down silos, the more they get closer to this kind of convergence. The message here for big and smaller organizations borders the obvious: strategy, not technology drives digital transformation.
- Technological Convergence. This is where software vendors battle. Adobe for example, has a great edge when it comes to combining creativity and marketing given this runs in their DNA. Other big players such as IBM, HP, Oracle have interesting offers and peculiarities as well. For big and smaller vendors the advice is to avoid cobbling up platforms in the laboratory. Get out and grab cross-platform use cases from your customer base and your prospects. They are the only ones who are willing to pay for your solution.
Marketers are not in the IT business. They are in the business of humanity. They must put themselves in the customer’s shoes in order to think the customer’s thoughts and feel the customer’s own feelings. Content is the marketers language,and data is their grammar book.
This article originally appeared on B&T’s sister business site www.which-50.com